By Samantha Lande, BCB Editorial Director
Welcome to Wonder Woman Wednesday, a weekly feature that will attempt to tackle the question we are frequently asked— “how do moms really do it all?” Each week we will feature an amazing mom with extraordinary abilities. From founders of some of the most successful companies to philanthropists who are changing the world, these women are true heroines. To thank them for lifting the cape on some of their super powers, we will make a donation to the charity of their choice.
NAME: Shatabdi Basu
KIDS : Nisha Tara (5 years), Nimisha (4 years)
OCCUPATION: Co-founder and CMO, Savoir
LIVE: Western Springs, IL
FAVORITE CHARITY: Anti-cruelty Society
What if you could eat out at some of the best restaurants and stick to your diet? Shatabdi Basu, founder of the new dining app, Savior, wanted to find a way to do just that. After struggling with her weight for years, and dealing with postpartum depression as a result of her weight gain during pregnancy (amongst other factors) she finally found a way to feel more like herself with proper nutrition and exercise, but still found it challenging when dining out. That’s when the idea for Savior was born. Shatabdi consulted fitness experts, dietitians, and nutritionists on the healthiest dishes in some of the hottest restaurants in Chicago. She wove those suggestions into an app that also includes reviews, deals and a chance to get recommendations from those in your “inner circle.” Shatabdi tells us about the app, her hands-on experience with Mother Theresa and why she’d like to be a super scientist.
What is your backstory?
I have always struggled with my weight. In my school days and even my early college years, I tipped the scale the wrong way. Being a foodie did not help my cause. I did not believe in fad diets to lose weight. So, I focused on being active and took to running and that became a passion. As an avid runner, I achieved my weight goal. However, my first pregnancy made me put on 60 lbs, over 50% weight gain given my small frame. Then after childbirth came post partum depression. Taking care of a newborn is not easy and my daughter suffered from acid reflux. I cared for her all day and felt guilty about taking any time off. Unfortunately, that didn’t help either one of us. My exhaustion combined with the hormonal imbalance and weight gain did not make me feel anything like myself. That’s when, upon my husband’s advice, I started focusing on myself. I started making time for myself, for my workouts. However, just physical activity alone did not seem to work this time. So, I was forced to look at my nutrition. I was not one to go on a diet, so I consulted a dietitian and started a healthy, wholesome, nutritional plan. I started losing weight and feeling better. But my struggle with dining out diverted me from my plan. So, I started reading and educating myself on the nutritional value of food and how to make healthy choices while dining out. This became a passion for me. This passion resulted in Savoir. I want Savoir’s FitLens and advice from health experts to become a helpful resource for women who are struggling with post pregnancy weight loss or women who are finding it difficult to achieve and maintain their weight goals. Post pregnancy, things can get complicated for new mothers.
Tell us about your typical weekday:
With a busy startup venture and two young kids and two dogs (who are perhaps more needy and demanding than our daughters), there is really no “typical” weekday. Everyday is action packed and a bit unpredictable. I always prioritize being a mom first. So, the day starts with getting the girls ready for school. Breakfast is a very special time when we come together as a family. Once the girls leave for school, my day is taken over by Savoir. A flurry of meetings, new strategies, marketing promotions, interviews and more make up the rest of my day. No matter how busy my workday may be, my family always comes back together for dinner. I spend time with the girls doing activities until they are tucked in. Then, back to Savoir.
Tell us about a “save the day moment”…
My biggest personal accomplishment is my two beautiful daughters. My biggest professional accomplishment is Savoir. It was a difficult and risky decision to give up an established career in healthcare marketing and consulting to start a new venture. However, I strongly believe in following my passion, and Savoir gave me the opportunity to do just that. I am a health conscious foodie and I wanted to have a resource out there for folks like myself, where folks could have fun dining out while having access to healthy food recommendations from dietitians and health experts at their finger tips. When your work is driven by your passion, it’s a completely different level of satisfaction. However, I work consciously to maintain a healthy work life balance so I am spending enough time with my family – especially our kids. Nothing in this world can be more satisfying than being a mom. Our children are our true legacy and it’s on us to give them our time so they are well nurtured and have the best upbringing.
Who is your Wonder Woman?
Mother Teresa is my wonder woman. The way she touched so many lives and changed them forever is truly amazing. Her touch was magical. Full of love, I feel fortunate that I not only met the Mother, but also grew up quite close to her. I did my schooling, Kindergarten-12th Grade, at Loreto House, Kolkata (Calcutta). Mother Teresa was an integral part of Sisters of Loreto and Loreto House and spent most of her life there. It’s a tremendous privilege and an honor to have been able to see her in action. She met everyone with open arms and hugged the poor, the diseased, the dying, without any care. The children were very close to her heart. She made the best effort to find orphans a loving family. She worked relentlessly to make the world a better place. She worked quietly without expecting anything in return. She made sacrifices everyday to make someone else’s life better. She did not have a child of her own. But, she is a mother who understood the true essence of motherhood. When the going gets tough, I close my eyes and I can feel her warm loving touch on my cheeks and her reassuring smile giving me all the courage and motivation I need. Her touch is truly magical. She is my hero, my Wonder Woman.
What is your super power?
Staying focused and having a “can-do” attitude is what keeps me going. Running a fast growing early-stage startup while managing two young children can get very challenging. Managing my time efficiently and keeping an open mind to accept mistakes and learn from them is what helps me overcome challenges. Of course, it’s very important to learn to appreciate yourself and celebrate your achievements, both professionally and personally.
If you could have a secret identity what would it be and what would you use it for?
I would like to be this super scientist who could come up with a concoction that would allow every mother achieve a perfect balance between their family and their career and never feel that they are favoring one over the other.
What is your arch nemesis?
Myself. I am a perfectionist and I tend to be self-critical. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s okay if things do not turn out exactly the way I wanted them to. It’s important to keep your focus on the ultimate goal so you don’t get bogged down with the nitty-gritty.
Which Superhero do you most identify with and why?
Elastigirl Helen Parr from the Incredibles. She is dexterous and resourceful. I appreciate her vulnerability and her strength in achieving a balance between being a super hero and a mother.
Who is your supporting cast of characters that helps you to achieve WonderWoman status?
My dad who has always been an inspiration to me, our two very understanding daughters, and our two family dogs with their unwavering loyalty and love.
How do you protect (and give back to) your community?
I am very passionate about children and animals. I work very closely with Chicago’s Anti-cruelty Society (ACS). Besides our continuous active involvement with ACS, we are always supporting organizations such as PAWS and Hinsdale Humane Society. We also have plans of launching a free diet consultation program for children in the future.